PHILADELPHIA — There was no red light, just Blackhawks flying over the boards in celebration.
Sticks and helmets were thrown, scattered all over the ice and still no signal for a goal.
After a brief review, there was no dispute — the Chicago Blackhawks were the Stanley Cup champions.
Patrick Kane sneaked the puck past Michael Leighton 4:10 into overtime and stunned Philadelphia to lift the Blackhawks to a 4-3 overtime win in Game 6 on Wednesday night for their first championship since 1961.
No one but the Blackhawks appeared to know what was going on for a few frozen moments. Kane and his linemates seemed the only players on the ice who knew the puck found the side of the net. The goal light never went on, but that didn't stop most of the Blackhawks from storming the ice and mobbing each other in celebration.
The review was a short one and Kane will go down as scoring one of the biggest winners in team history.
“I was just hoping to God it was just an actual goal,” said captain Jonathan Toews, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP. “They came back hard in the third and we just stuck with it.”
Kane raised his arms right away and skated behind the net, knowing the goal was good. While the Flyers sat on the bench in stunned silence with confused looks, the Blackhawks began to celebrate in their own end around goaltender Annti Niemi.
“I knew it went in right away,” Kane said. “What a feeling. I can't believe it. We just won the Stanley Cup. I can't believe this just happened. ... It's something you dream about, scoring the final goal in the Stanley Cup finals.”
Before reaching the group hug, Kane stooped to pick up some loose ice shavings — looking like a mischievous kid on Christmas ready to throw a snowball in the backyard.
“There's so many great things about winning a Stanley Cup. This is it,” Toews said. “This is the best feeling you can ever get. I just can't believe it's happened.”
Toews was first to touch the Cup, taking it from commissioner Gary Bettman and hoisting it above his head in triumph. Marian Hossa, whose last two attempts at a title were denied the last two years with Detroit and Pittsburgh, was next. He lifted it and bench-pressed the big trophy, snapping his head back in exhilaration.
The Blackhawks completed their revival from the bottom of the NHL to holding the silver trophy on the strength of rising stars Kane and Toews.
Niemi was solid in goal to help the Blackhawks wrap up their most successful season since Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita led the way 49 years ago.
It ends the longest active championship drought in the NHL. Kane is the first player to score the Stanley Cup clinching goal in overtime since Jason Arnott did it for New Jersey at Dallas exactly 10 years ago.
The Flyers are still looking for their first Stanley Cup title since 1975.
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